All the scenery, furniture and props the audience sees at a production of a play make up the set design. The Set Designer's job is to design and build these physical surroundings in which the action will take place. The overall look of the set also gives the audience information about the Director's concept of the set that should:
- suggest the style and tone of the whole production
- create mood and atmosphere
- give clues as to the specific time and place of the action
The Set Designer will meet with the Director and the Design Team (set, costume, lighting and sound designers) to discuss the details of the set and the Director's interpretation of the play. Set Designers use several tools to communicate their ideas to the Director and the other designers. These can include:
- a rough sketch of the set in the preliminary phase
- floor plans drawn to scale showing from above the general layout of each set and the placement of the furniture
and large props
- front elevations giving a view of the elements of the set from the front and showing details like windows or
- miniature three-dimensional models showing how each set will look when finished.
Once the show opens, the Designer's work is essentially complete. It is the job of the Stage Manager and Backstage Crew to make sure that every aspect of the production runs just as the Designer intended.
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